Understanding biogenic sulfide corrosion

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Courtesy of Tnemec Company, Inc.

It is widely understood that wastewater collection and treatment systems are a source of malodorous odors. The most prevalent odorous gas is hydrogen sulfide (H2S), a toxic and corrosive gas with a characteristic rotten egg odor. What may often be overlooked, however, is that fact that H2S is also a precursor to the formation of sulfuric acid, H2SO4, which causes the destruction of metal and concrete substrates and appurtenances within wastewater collection and treatment facilities. This bacterially mediated process of forming hydrogen sulfide gas and the subsequent conversion to sulfuric acid that attacks concrete and steel within wastewater environments is known as biogenic sulfide corrosion. Also referred to as microbiologically induced corrosion, biogenic sulfide corrosion has been of increasing concern among engineers and practitioners for several years contributing to the considerable cost of renovation of deteriorated sewer networks.

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